Prom 9: Philharmonia Orchestra/Dohnanyi
Prom 10: BBC Philharmonic/Lai
Prom 11: Royal Liverpool PO/Schwarz, Royal Albert Hall, London
Tuesday 26 July 2005
The performance was remarkable for incisiveness of attack, balance of textures, first-rate solo horn playing in the third movement and the sheen and burnish of the lower strings. But there was no joy or passion, no feeling that phrasing or tempo fluctuation were part of an emerging emotional whole. Just one of those nights when things never really gel, never really take off? I suppose so.
Christian Tetzlaff's vivacious and refined reading of Mozart's Third Violin Concerto was some compensation, however. And on the following night, another violin concerto, Max Bruch's, found Leila Josefowicz on ravishing form with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under their music director, Gerard Schwarz.
Every quiet solo passage was greeted with the Albert Hall's special kind of silence. Josefowicz, too, is unafraid of more wiry as well as sweeter timbres, and there was violinistic volatility aplenty in the finale. To end, there was a stirring performance of Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony, with the splendid combination of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and the Chester Festival Chorus, plus Janice Watson and Dwayne Croft, a pair of affecting vocal soloists.
In the Blue Peter Prom that morning, given by the BBC Philharmonic under Jason Lai, it was terrific to see a large audience of children and parents enjoying orchestral music amid the razzmatazz of magic tricks, audience participation and a visiting Dalek. But in future please give the conductor some decent chance to talk, especially about the music. That way, the aims of this annual Prom would be better served.
These Proms can be heard online at www.bbc.co.uk/proms
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